Realignment and the New Schedule Matrix

Ryan Pike
March 15 2013 09:57AM

 

 

The NHL's Board of Governors and the NHLPA have both approved new divisions for the 2013-14 season, as well as a new scheduling and playoff formula. Calgary will be in a new Pacific Division with Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix, Edmonton and Vancouver. The top three teams in each division will now make the playoffs, along with the two remaining conference teams with the best records.

To make sense of how it'll impact the Calgary Flames, we've put together a quick rundown organized by opposing team.

THE SCHEDULE MATRIX

Within Conference (Division): 29 games

[Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix, Edmonton and Vancouver]
* 5 games vs. five teams (3 Home/2 Away vs. two teams, 2 Home/3 Away vs. three teams) AND 4 games vs. one team (2 Home/2 Away). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.
* 5 X 5 =25 games
* 1 X 4 = 4 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 21 games
[Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville and St. Louis]

* 3 games vs. each team (2 Home/1 Away vs. four teams, 1 Home/2 Away vs. three teams). Teams rotated on a yearly basis.
* 3 X 7 = 21 games

Non-Conference: 32 games
[Everyone Else]

* 2 games vs. each team (1 Home/1 Away)
* 2 X 16 = 32 games

EDMONTON & VANCOUVER

The Skinny: You will see them slightly less. The old scheduling system saw Calgary play their closest traditional rivals six times per year. The new system sees the Flames play them four or five times per year. The 'Dome will get definitely one less seasonal visit from the Canucks and Oilers. This also means one less 8pm MT road game in Vancouver and one less 7pm road game in Edmonton.

ANAHEIM, LOS ANGELES, PHOENIX & SAN JOSE

The Skinny: Depending on the team and the divisional rotation, you will see them the same amount or slightly more. These former Pacific Division teams will join the Flames in the “new” Pacific Division. Under the old system, the Flames played them all four times per year. Under the new system, they'll play them four or five times. Depending on which team gets the extra date per year, it's either an extra 8pm MT road game or an extra home game.

COLORADO & MINNESOTA

The Skinny: These old Northwest Division rivals are now in the “Mid-West” Division, or whatever it'll end up being called. The Flames used to play them six times each per year, but now they'll play them each three times per year (the extra home game will float each year). No matter what, there will be at least one less 7pm MT road game in Colorado and one less 6pm MT road game in Minnesota.

CHICAGO, DALLAS, NASHVILLE & ST. LOUIS

The Skinny: In the olden days, the Flames played teams from the other division in the West four times apiece. Now? They'll play them three times apiece, so they'll lose either a home date or a road date against each. It's not a huge loss and it's slightly fewer 6pm MT road games.

COLUMBUS & DETROIT

The Skinny: Say goodbye to these teams, as they leave the Western Conference for the east. The Flames used to see them four times each, now it'll be twice. That's two fewer 6pm MT road games.

MONTREAL, OTTAWA & TORONTO

The Skinny: Under the old system, the Canadian teams in the East (except Winnipeg) were special and played each other twice a year. Under the new system, the Canadian teams in the East are just like everyone else and will still play Calgary twice a year.

WINNIPEG

The Skinny: Okay, I lied. Winnipeg is special. Under the old system, Winnipeg was an orphan, all alone and playing Calgary once per year. Now that's fixed, and Winnipeg's in the other division and will play Calgary three times a year. That guarantees a home visit from the Jets every year, and another 6pm MT road game (guaranteed), with the extra game rotating.

EVERYONE ELSE (BOSTON, BUFFALO, CAROLINA, FLORIDA, NEW JERSEY, NY ISLANDERS, NY RANGERS, PHLADELPHIA, PITTSBURGH, TAMPA BAY & WASHINGTON)

The Skinny: In the olden days, the Flames would play these Eastern time zone teams once a year. Where that game was depended on divisional rotation. Well, if you like any of these teams, you are in luck. Calgary will play everyone twice a season now – once in the east and once here. That means the team will get twice as many 5pm MT east-coast road games per year.

THE VERDICT

The good news is that Flames fans will see everybody once a year, including guaranteed visits from Winnipeg. The bad news is you'll get slightly less Edmonton and Vancouver.

There will be a few more 5pm MT road games when the Flames play out east. There will be a guaranteed visit to Winnipeg, but that's the only added 6pm MT road game (and those will be fewer due to less visits to Detroit and Columbus). There will be a handful more 8pm MT starts when the Flames visit their new divisional rivals, but they replace a visit to Vancouver and a visit to Edmonton.

On the whole, a handful of 7pm and 6pm road game starts will become 5pm starts (due to the east coast visits), while a couple 7pm starts will become 8pm starts (due to the new divisional rivals). Beyond that, the schedule doesn't appreciably change too much.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Parallex
March 15 2013, 10:50AM
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@NateBaldwin

Not at all interested in Bernier and the Kings pick is probably no better then a lottery ticket. Big big pass from me on that.

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#2 backburner
March 15 2013, 11:08AM
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Parallex wrote:

Not at all interested in Bernier and the Kings pick is probably no better then a lottery ticket. Big big pass from me on that.

I think its Bernier for Iggy and a pick, which is even worse.

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#3 Parallex
March 15 2013, 11:35AM
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backburner wrote:

I think its Bernier for Iggy and a pick, which is even worse.

Then I laugh at TSN. I would rather have Iginla walk for nothing then do that deal.

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#4 Stunner
March 15 2013, 11:53AM
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@ Parallex

The TSN suggested deal with Kings is Iggy + one of our picks for Bernier.

There is no way Feaster could be that insane. We need a center not a goalie.

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#5 Scary Gary
March 15 2013, 12:34PM
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Parallex wrote:

Then I laugh at TSN. I would rather have Iginla walk for nothing then do that deal.

Exactly, it sounds like they're just making stuff up over at TSN to fill the void. If he goes anywhere (which I'm not convinced he will) it would be to the east. The Kings would have to overpay dearly if we were to see him in our division next year.

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#6 NateBaldwin
March 15 2013, 10:02AM
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TSN just suggested Bernier for Iginla and a pick. Yikes.

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#7 Monaertchi
March 15 2013, 10:05AM
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If you're so inclined, could you run down how this season would shake out if this alignment were applied now, please?

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#8 backburner
March 15 2013, 10:05AM
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Tampa Bay and Flo Rida get screwed.. but whatever, you play in Florida...

I don't know why they wouldn't make Tampa, Florida, Carolina, Dallas, Nashville, and maybe St. Louis a Division?

It would be also nice to put Calgary in Division B, but I guess they can't complain going down to California more often..

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#9 backburner
March 15 2013, 10:07AM
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NateBaldwin wrote:

TSN just suggested Bernier for Iginla and a pick. Yikes.

I'd send Iginla and Kipper for Bernier, Toffoli and a first..

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#10 NateBaldwin
March 15 2013, 10:08AM
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@backburner

Ya, they are kind of alone on an island down there

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#11 Scott
March 15 2013, 10:14AM
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I'm looking forward to those early starts. That will be nice.

As far as our new division - We don't win against LA, Anahiem on the road, so thats more losses. And 2 less wins because we won't play ended as much.

From that standpoint, the division just got alot tougher for the flames. Although to get into the playoffs, we only need to be ahead of Phx, Edmon, and battle it out with Anaheim, LA and SJ for a playoff spot. That improves the odds a little.

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#12 Kevin R
March 15 2013, 10:26AM
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NateBaldwin wrote:

TSN just suggested Bernier for Iginla and a pick. Yikes.

Lord only knows if thats the best we can get but goaltending isnt our need. If we have to give Iggy+ for anything, it better be a young almost ready highly touted Centreman. Otherwise a 1st & a good d prospect would be fine. I think with Kipper & Ramo in net next year gives the Flames a chance of surprising everyone next year like Ottawa did. Goaltending is the key to overachieving with young unknowns.

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#13 Jai Kiran
March 15 2013, 10:37AM
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Kevin R wrote:

If we have to give Iggy+ for anything, it better be a young almost ready highly touted Centreman

Yeah, his name is Granlund, and his team isn't in our division anymore next year. And we've got his brother's rights...

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#14 Subversive
March 15 2013, 10:59AM
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I'd be interested to know how the changes impact total travel miles for the Flames and other teams. Has anyone done this research yet?

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#15 SmellOfVictory
March 15 2013, 11:20AM
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backburner wrote:

I'd send Iginla and Kipper for Bernier, Toffoli and a first..

That would be delightful.

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#16 backburner
March 15 2013, 11:25AM
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Subversive wrote:

I'd be interested to know how the changes impact total travel miles for the Flames and other teams. Has anyone done this research yet?

I haven't done the research, but it sounds like it will balance itself out for most teams, with the exception of Blue Jackets and Wings. The idea is to try to reduce travel within each division, but every team will have a chance to play in every rink at least once. Overall, there might be slightly more travel for the Flames, but games will be played earlier for the most part as a bonus.

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#17 FireOnIce
March 15 2013, 12:49PM
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Stunner wrote:

@ Parallex

The TSN suggested deal with Kings is Iggy + one of our picks for Bernier.

There is no way Feaster could be that insane. We need a center not a goalie.

Feaster has taken on 2 or 3 new goalies this season. I don't trust him NOT to make that trade.

I, for one, am not a fan of being in this 'Pacific' division. Yeah, less travel, but that's something like 4 or 5 more 8/830pm MT starts. I can't drink until 1130pm every night then expect to go to work.

Also, if games start at 5pm MT, lots of people are still at work or in transit. Going to be a lot of missed periods and angry fans.

"Oh great, we don't have to play EDM and VAN 2x less this season. Instead, we get to go to ANH and lose 2x extra games in their arena. Lovely. Awesome."

/sarcasm

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#18 KetchupKid
March 15 2013, 02:13PM
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@FireOnIce

"Going to be a lot of missed periods and angry fans." There's a pregnancy joke here somewhere...

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#19 lionlager
March 15 2013, 02:40PM
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If Iggy is going he'd better be traded East...

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#20 meat1
March 15 2013, 03:23PM
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I'm beginning to worry about this scenario: we stay close enough in this 'turtle derby' that nothing happens on any trade front other than us ADDING. Then, after we miss the playoffs again, Feaster, so that he doesn't lose Jarome for nothing, saves face by signing him to a 4 year, $24 million deal.

I love Iggy as much as anyone, but I'm a fan of the TEAM more than anything. The TEAM needs Iggy traded...but not for Bernier!!!!

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#21 RexLibris
March 15 2013, 03:53PM
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LA doesn't have a 1st round pick this year, so any deal would be for 2014's 1st.

Would Flames fans trade Iginla and Brossoit for Brayden Schenn?

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#22 backburner
March 15 2013, 05:29PM
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RexLibris wrote:

LA doesn't have a 1st round pick this year, so any deal would be for 2014's 1st.

Would Flames fans trade Iginla and Brossoit for Brayden Schenn?

No, I think I'd rather have Couturier..

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#23 vowswithin
March 15 2013, 06:40PM
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backburner wrote:

No, I think I'd rather have Couturier..

I would rather trade Iggy to Pits for supposed top 4 def prospect, kennedy + a pic

Then trade Jbo (assuming he is going to) for Couturier

That sounds better to me ;-)

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#24 Chris
March 15 2013, 06:43PM
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backburner wrote:

Tampa Bay and Flo Rida get screwed.. but whatever, you play in Florida...

I don't know why they wouldn't make Tampa, Florida, Carolina, Dallas, Nashville, and maybe St. Louis a Division?

It would be also nice to put Calgary in Division B, but I guess they can't complain going down to California more often..

At least Tampa and Florida get Canadian fans to come down and boost attendance. All those snowbirds will add up to ... smaller losses for the Florida teams!

I've been to Phoenix during spring break in March. The arena was packed out with fans from everywhere else. Who knows how much money that team would have lost without all those visitors.

Your Southern Division makes a lot of sense to me. To get to 7 teams, you'd have to add Washington, and Washington probably didn't like that. The other consequense of that is that you end up with either the U.S. Eastern Seaboard teams or the Canadian teams split up.

That may still happen if the Coyotes move. God only knows why the NHL approved a realignment *this* year, before the whole Phoenix mess is finally settled. Unless they have a secret agreement to move that team to Seattle, the likely new home for the Coyotes is Quebec.

California to Quebec is close to the longest road trip in the league. What, will the Kings play back-to-back-to-back games there once a year? Yeesh.

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